As my plane got ready for its final approach to the airport, I looked out the window. Below the plane lay a landscape that seemed to feature all the different shades of green. Beyond that and extending as far as I could see was a sparkling blue ocean that seemed to beckon the weary traveler to bathe in its waters.
A grass-covered hut sat on the edge of the airport, and a warm breeze carried the smell of ocean.
Everything about this place seemed to say "Welcome to Bali."
Bali has long been known as a destination for relaxation, but reputations only go so far. Besides its famous beaches, Bali has a large assortment of other activities.
At the beach, you can recruit one of the locals to teach you how to surf, or you can spend the whole day lounging on a rented chair and getting up to jump into the water whenever the mood strikes.
Alternatively, venture farther into the island to find tours that will take you to the coffee plantations where you can try a variety of many coffees, including the (in)famous Kopi Luwak (the beans for which are removed from the poop of an animal called the civet), for a fraction of what it would cost you anywhere else.
After a quick meal, you can mount a bike and begin a (mostly downhill) 30km ride beside lush green vegetation and watery rice paddies.
After a late lunch at the destination, you can make your way back down to the sand at Jimbaran Bay where you can enjoy dinner at a table on the sand while watching a multicolored sunset fall behind the surf.
Prices in Bali tend to be very similar to prices in China. A decent meal can run from as little as RP.15,000 (approx. RMB10) to very high. Bali offers something for every kind of traveler, and with Air Asia flights to and from Chengdu to KL (which is a cheap hop away from Bali), there is no reason not to wander south in these coming winter months.
This article was first published in CHENGDOO citylife Magazine, issue 55 ("how to 6"). Photos and text by #Dan Sandoval#http://www.dansandoval.com/